Who am I and why do I blog here?

Those are questions, I’m sure, that many of you have wondered ever since I started posting here regularly toward the end of last year. Well, let me explain…

…but first let’s back up a little.

Mike and Maddie

Back in early 2008 Maddie finally came home after her long stay in the hospital, and Heather went back to work with the Los Angeles Dodgers. That left me to become a stay-at-home Dad. I was excited, but nervous. Adjusting to being a stay-at-home Dad is hard enough, but when your baby has special needs, it’s even harder.

A few weeks into this new life Heather told me that I should start a blog chronicling my experiences as a stay-at-home Dad. Part of her was hoping that I might find some other parents online to commiserate with as she could tell I was feeling a bit isolated at home. The other part of her, I think, was hoping that I would get caught up in the social media world like her so that I would stop saying things like, “What are you doing on that computer all night?!”

Soon I started my blog, The Newborn Identity, and very quickly I met a lot of great people/parents online. This was tremendously helpful. I could write a post about a mistake I made parenting, or asking a question about how to handle something, and the next day I had a bunch of comments from parents like me offering encouragement or advice. I no longer felt so alone. It was a Godsend.

I had a lot of fun writing that blog. Some of my favorite posts from that time were about taking Maddie on a highly unusual trip to the doctor, trying to figure out what the heck to dress her in, and how she liked to stay up all night like a frat boy.

Maddie and Mike

It was easy to write posts that I could be proud of back then with little Maddie as my muse.

But then Maddie died and everything changed. I posted on my blog a little longer, but I had little motivation. After all, how could I keep writing on a website about what it was like to be a Dad when the greatest thing that ever happened to me – the very thing that made me a Dad – was now gone? The simple answer was I couldn’t. I soon left it behind, a memory just like the glorious days with Maddie that I had so enjoyed writing about.

Some time after that Heather started to ask me to guest post on her site from time to time, mainly when she was too ill to post herself while pregnant with Annie.  Then, after Annie was born, I found I had the desire to blog again. Rather than starting a new site of my own, I asked Heather if I could re-launch my old blog on her site since I had already been guest posting here. She said, yes, and even suggested that we put all my old posts about Maddie here too.

Writing on The Spohrs Are Multiplying with Heather’s readership has been interesting. I’ve been welcomed warmly by many readers, but also called sexist, a jerk, and the reason to no longer read the site. From time to time Heather will call me the day after I put up a new post (such as my last on corporal punishment) and ask, “What did you do now?!” But I hope that Heather – and all of you – understand that I never mean to offend anyone. I just reflect on certain subjects that relate to me and my life as a Dad, then write my thoughts down and hit publish. I’m not claiming that my opinion is 100% right, or that yours is wrong if you disagree. I’m just expressing what this one guy thinks.

After the reaction to my last post I did a lot of thinking about blogging. I wondered, “Am I doing it wrong? Should I just write cute stories about Annie? Or, if I do decide to write about issues that are a little more controversial, should I hide my true thoughts and simply present the subject without comment?”

Somehow that doesn’t seem right to me. What’s the point of writing a blog if you can’t express yourself? Still, if any of you can tell me how you think I should do things differently as a blogger, I’m all ears.

I hope that this post helped those of you who don’t remember me on my old site to get to know me better. I have been on quite a journey ever since I wrote my first post about Maddie all those years ago, and I thank all of you who have joined me at some point along the way.